|Adam and Eve Driven Out (detail), Gustave Dore|
Jared and I often take walks around the city. A few months ago, as we pushed Ellie's stroller through the square, we passed a young man in a t-shirt that proclaimed his love for a certain part of female anatomy. I couldn't believe my eyes. He carried no hint of shame. Evidently, the human body can now be dissected and lewdly splattered on an article of clothing; I bet the only consequence that young man got was laughs from the bros.
Of course you constantly see this kind of sad objectification in advertising, even when it's not obscene. Most commercials and billboards use bodies to sell product. Ever see an ugly person in a Got Milk ad? Thought not.
Sadly, because of this crude cheapening of the body, formerly everyday things have taken on a questionable tint. Nursing babies, for example. Although there's nothing scandalous about feeding a child, many folks today act like there is. You know why? Because once you make everything about sex, that's all people see.
As another example, I have some really cute pictures of Ellie in the bathtub, but they'll never see the light of the internet. I don't see anything wrong with an innocent little baby in her birthday suit, but there are perverts trawling the web for exactly such images. Honestly, I have considered erasing most of the Ellie pictures I've posted on my blog. I don't want to be paranoid but I know that it's a nasty world out there, and it can be hard to find the line between "open" and "overshare."
In much of Western culture our bodies have become mere vehicles for expressing and experiencing an eviscerated sexuality. This offends and angers me at times; mostly, it just makes me sad. We're so much more than that. Our souls, and yes our bodies, bear the imprint of God. We may be mere dust, but it's pretty special dust.
I wonder how much it must grieve Him to see His creation prostituted on the altar of self. I wonder how much He must long to see our minds renewed, to see ourselves and one another for what we are: men and women shaped to show His glory.
When I see desperate pop stars making fools of themselves, or fifth graders strutting down the sidewalk in booty shorts, I tend to feel more pity than outrage. Our world is so confused.
Sidenote: despite my strong opinions in favor of nursing I do not promote, shall we say, "militant breastfeeding." I feed my baby when she is hungry, but I don't have to flash the world in the process. I hardly think that shock tactics are going to change people's minds, and in the hopes that a mom quietly nursing her baby will soon be no more remarkable than a mom warming up a bottle, I believe that I can help the cause along by being normal instead of obnoxious.
More thoughts later.